For the whole month of October we have been avoiding buying groceries (with the exception of staples like bread and milk and such). We ordered the angel food ministries food boxes (which we got today) in the beginning of the month and about a week ago started running short on suppers and wanted to live off what we had until the food boxes came in.
Being an engineer and slightly (or a lot) OCD, I like lists… they help me think. The pantry and freezer was looking pretty bare already. It had been about a month already (since mid-sept) living on “what we had” and the meals were getting hard to put together on a whim when the stomach was growling after work.
So I took a notebook and inventoried every frozen item and every pantry item we had. For example, 2x cans of mushrooms, 4x cans of chicken, 3lbs frozen corn… etc.
I then used the master list of what we had and started listing all the possible meals using the ingredients using portions of what was available. I was hoping that I could at least be come up with a weeks worth of odd-ball suppers that would tide us through and at the same time clean up some old items in the pantry. I even went as far as to list out the ingredients for the meals as well as the locations so that my wife could easily find my ingredients for the dinners.
Most of the dinners were really quite good and run of the mill. Frozen sausage link, mash potatoes, corn… or pasta sauce and elbow noodles. But as a stroke of luck, we even found some new meals, like a tomato/chicken/bean/rice burritos like we had for dinner tonight… man are they good.
Here is the freaky frugal discovery. Even though we literally dwindled our stores down already, I still managed to come up with 29 more meals for two out of what little we had left.
Hmmm…. that’s like a whole month of suppers without having to buy anything. Using what you already have… Now THATS frugal!